Posts tagged ‘Toronto Island’

September 6, 2013

No Need to Fall Back into the Arms of the Person Behind You

My partner in crime Lisa and I went on a staff retreat last week. I do one every year in August to sort out what’s happening, what went on last year and make plans for this year.  This time I went with Lisa. COMPANY RETREAT! This is a Lisa post on the day.

Staff Retreat
This was a Staff Retreat Sue-Edworthy style. No trust-exercises, overnight camping or ice breakers. We planned to escape the city for an afternoon on the Island at one of Sue’s favourite places: the Artscape Gibraltar Point Retreat Centre.

The Ferry
Our retreat fell on the Thursday of the long weekend and honestly, I’ve never seen so many families in one place in my life. Strollers, wagons, carts and Sue and me, wide eyed, alternating between ‘awws’ and ‘ewws’.
SE: I also shook my head a lot and closed my eyes several times. We also chose the best behaved children and mentally awarded them prizes.

Pro-tip: Arrive early! The ferry station was PACKED by noon.

The Island
We took the ferry to Centre Island and walked from there to Artscape Gibraltar Point. As the crowds from the dock dispersed and we began to walk, I noticed how spacious the island felt after the cramped ferry ride. Though hundreds of people had chosen that day to visit, the greenery was still quiet and peaceful.
SE: It’s why I love the Island. Ten minutes away and you’d never know you were near a city.

Pro-tip: Wear comfortable shoes and pack a water bottle! There is lots to explore and you’ll want to find the perfect place to relax, so get ready to walk for a while!

The Artists’ Retreat
Artscape rescued the Island Public and Natural Science School building in 1999 and restored it into an Artist’s retreat. It is beautiful. Rustic and simple, the space still resembles an old school, with a few updates to make it inhabitable. The space is decorated with art and artifacts from the school’s past and present and has a quiet magic to it. We bumped into a few artists who were spending their summers working there. They loved it, and I could see why: with plenty of green space, work studios and a private beach it was an ideal place to escape the city. If you’re interested in Artscape’s Gibraltar Point space check out their site!

Protip: We took a quick visit to the beach and Sue mentioned that she goes to the Island in Autumn. The ferry runs all year, I’m definitely going to check it out.

The Work
We really did go to the island to work, I swear! Sue and I set up a ‘desk’ outside the Retreat Centre and got down to the business of the day. We SWOT-ed our past work (what were our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) for both the company and our previous clients and we SMART-ed over new goals (are they specific measurable, attainable and relevant, time-bound) for us and for new clients. We went over my performance review and re-evaluated our company goals. It was intense work, but in the shade of an elm tree, surrounded by flowers and the sounds of waves we hardly even noticed.

Pro tip: Tape. If you’re working outside, count on paper-blowing wind! Sue is a bit of a walking supply-closet, so we had it on hand!

FYI: Pasta salad makes for a delicious afternoon meal! Sue packed also packed us heirloom carrots, and four, I repeat FOUR dips. I brought some strawberries and carrot cake. Never forget the power of a good picnic for company morale!

August 2, 2013

Summer Can Be Quiet(er) #4 – All Caps and Hashtag History

No, all caps isn’t about the (mis)use of ALL CAPS – it’s an amazing festival and they need volunteers.

Calling all Friends of Artscape Gibraltar Point!
The ALL CAPS Music and Art Festival on August 9th, 10th and 11th has been made possible over the last 5 years by the support of many volunteers. This Artscape and Wavelength collaborative event requires about 70 volunteers to make  happen and that’s just during the festival!  Planning started almost immediately after the last festival and has evolved into a well-known and well attended event over 5 years. Have a look at the 2013 trailer and get excited!

Jessica Vallentin and Vanessa Rieger have been working with Whippersnapper Gallery to coordinate works by six artists, whose work speaks directly to its unique location on Toronto Island. The curators will be documenting the residency as it unfolds! There will also be open studios from 2pm to 5pm and the folks over at Wavelength have programmed a fantastic line up of bands

We hope to create another excellent team of volunteers for the upcoming and Final ALL CAPS this 9th, 10th and 11th. The AGP team is asking for support from our Artscape Gibraltar Point community in bartending (keep the tips, must have smart serve), ticket sales and clean set up/clean up/tear down.
If you volunteer for one 4 hour shift, you receive a free day pass; If you volunteer for two 4 hour shifts over the 4 scheduled days, you receive a free weekend; If you volunteer for a late night shift or early morning shift, you get a free camping pass

Click to see the  ALL CAPS Schedule. Please let them know your preferred duty and time by confirming by email, lisa(at)

And because it’s Friday, it’s time for an infograph and the end of the week of bookmarks. Plus I like knowing how things began.


April 4, 2012

What a Wonderful Thing to Come Back To

Spent Monday and Tuesday on Toronto Island at the retreat centre getting my head together, doing some visioning exercises and just plain catching up and getting organized before the busy season starts (or continues, really, and gets busier.)

There is something wonderful about the Island – all the regular distractions are simply not there, and you find the focus you’ve been looking for. It starts as soon as you hit the dock to go over on the ferry.

Everyone is there to work on something, so no messing about. It’s beyond quiet – it’s thisclose to silent and you want to do what you came there to do. I highly recommend it to any artist looking for the space and time to get stuff done.

I still read the paper and came across this article – congrats, congrats big congrats to and Devon. Well done.

Toronto wins appeal on billboard tax

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